Digital for all now

Resistance to change: a major obstacle to digitalisation

Econocom 14 Nov 2016

What are the main obstacles to the digital transformation? This was one of the questions SIA Partners, Econocom and Ifop asked 400 decision-makers who took part in the 2016 edition of the barometer of digital practices, published on 4th October 2016.



Resistance to change came out on top: 20% of the professionals interviewed admit this is the number one obstacle to digitalising their company (versus 15% in 2015). Only the telecoms/media sector seemed not to be affected by this organisational inertia (9%) and cite lack of financial resources (25%) as the main obstacle.


 “In 2016, the main obstacles cited were directly linked to the operational implementation of projects,” explains Bruno Grossi, Executive Director of Econocom. Thus, lack of agility of the company or the IT system was the second biggest obstacle cited, up from 6th place to 2nd place, whilst the ability to assess the ROI of projects was the 3rd biggest stumbling block. Lack of financial resources, meanwhile, came just behind in 4th place.





Over the last few months on Digital for All, Now we’ve talked to a number of digital makers: CDOs (Chief Digital Officers) and Chief Innovation Officers of major companies who have shared their insights on how to combat digital apathy.


According to Patrick Hoffstetter, CDO of Renault Group: “You have to get all your staff involved in the digital transformation.” To do this, the car giant has set up an enterprise social network and put together team in charge of speeding up the digital evangelisation of employees. However, stresses Patrick Hoffstetter, getting 120,000 employees on board doesn’t happen overnight: “One thing we have noticed, whatever the company or industry sector, is the importance of “change management”: and that means not just the theoretical side but changing everyday habits and making sure that everyone, from C-level to ordinary employees, soaks up the digital culture. It’s not easy because there’s a whole aspect of digital that stresses people, a disruptive element, and the speed at which things go that can be overwhelming.”


Is evangelisation the way to overcome resistance to change? Pierre-Philippe Cormeraie, head of Innovation for BPCE, thinks so: back in September 2015, he told us: “Digital acculturation is important because everyone has to realise that these digital opportunities are new tools that will help them do their job better.”


At SEB, meanwhile: “It’s not hard convincing employees that digital is important,” says Nicolai Gérard, the group’s Digital Acceleration Officer. “The challenge is adapting to our culture, our processes, to the implications of digital and in particular, the need for speed and agility. The term “Test & Learn” has become a bit hackneyed in discussions about digital. And yet it’s a real challenge: not many companies have in their DNA this idea of testing pilots, over several months or even weeks, then scrapping the idea if it doesn’t succeed. The key is not being afraid to try and fail!”


Etienne Bourdon, Chief Digital Officer for APRIL Group, agrees: “You don’t convert people with slides and encouragements, but with real projects and demonstrations.”


-> Read all our interviews with CDOs

Talk to us and share your Digital Maker’s lesson with us!